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Industrial Refrigeration Operator Certification

Cooling off refrigeration loads

Industrial refrigeration comprises nearly 9 percent of the Northwest’s regional industrial load. Energy efficiency is increasingly playing a role in industrial refrigeration, offering these facilities energy savings, financial savings and a stronger bottom line.

NEEA recently partnered with the Refrigerating Engineers & Technicians Association (RETA) to develop a new energy efficiency certification for industrial refrigeration professionals, including managers, operators, technicians, and service providers.  Professionals who become Certified Refrigeration Energy Specialists (CRES) have the skills and capabilities to optimize the energy efficiency of their plants.  CRES professionals also gain a competitive edge and differentiate themselves in the marketplace.

To kick-start CRES in the Northwest, NEEA has held three demonstration trainings for refrigeration operators and technicians in the Seattle, Boise and Yakima areas. The trainings helped participants gain the knowledge and hands-on capabilities they will need to meet RETA’s CRES requirements, including passing an examination and completing and documenting five energy management activities.

Typical cost reductions are about 3 to 12 percent refrigeration electricity use after a year or more of consistent effort by a CRES certified operator. Continued improvement is expected because to maintain their certification, an operator must complete six additional energy management activities every three years, plus do continuing education.

  • RETA CRES Initiative- Market Characterization, Baseline Study, and Forecast Report
    Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) introduced a market transformation initiative working with the Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association (RETA) to create a certification called Certified Refrigerating Energy Specialists (CRES). The RETA/CRES initiative is designed to increase demand for and supply of Refrigeration Systems Operators (RSOs) certified to operate and maintain industrial refrigeration systems in an energy efficient manner. NEEA commissioned this study to characterize the market and to estimate the market baseline for energy savings that would result from the presence of certified RSOs. Researchers found that the average facility operating an industrial refrigeration system consumes 11,400 MWh (1.3 aMW) per year and estimated that roughly 10% can be reclaimed by improvements in operations and installation of more efficient equipment.
    PDF, 1020.01 KB
  • Strategic Energy Management Assessment Study: Dairies, Irrigators and Nurseries
    The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) engaged Market Strategies International (MSI) to conduct a survey to determine the percentage of industrial companies within eight industrial sectors in the Northwest that have implemented all elements of Strategic Energy Management (SEM). Market penetration of SEM among each of these eight sectors is: 8 percent of all food processing facilities; 4 percent of beverage manufacturing facilities; 5 percent of small manufacturing facilities; 12 percent of medium manufacturing facilities; 7 percent of metals manufacturers; 3 percent of dairies; 4 percent of irrigators; and 3 percent of nurseries. Among the large food processing segment (that is, facilities with at least 250 employees in the Northwest, and in which NEEA had focused its SEM efforts since 2005), 33 percent practice SEM, and 14 percent credit NEEA as the source of awareness of SEM.  MSI recommends that because most of the organizations in these eight sectors lack the resources and bandwidth to focus on the establishment of an SEM system, NEEA and its partners should provide significant direction and support regarding how to implement the various elements of SEM within a smaller operation.
    PDF, 1016.10 KB
  • Strategic Energy Management Assessment Study: Small, Medium and Metals Manufacturers
    The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) engaged Market Strategies International (MSI) to conduct a survey to determine the percentage of industrial companies within eight industrial sectors in the Northwest that have implemented all elements of Strategic Energy Management (SEM). Market penetration of SEM among each of these eight sectors is: 8 percent of all food processing facilities; 4 percent of beverage manufacturing facilities; 5 percent of small manufacturing facilities; 12 percent of medium manufacturing facilities; 7 percent of metals manufacturers; 3 percent of dairies; 4 percent of irrigators; and 3 percent of nurseries. Among the large food processing segment (that is, facilities with at least 250 employees in the Northwest, and in which NEEA had focused its SEM efforts since 2005), 33 percent practice SEM, and 14 percent credit NEEA as the source of awareness of SEM.  MSI recommends that because most of the organizations in these eight sectors lack the resources and bandwidth to focus on the establishment of an SEM system, NEEA and its partners should provide significant direction and support regarding how to implement the various elements of SEM within a smaller operation.
    PDF, 1.26 MB

Video Spotlight

RETA CRES Certification

NEEA, our utility partners and RETA collaborate to certify refrigeration professionals to save energy and lower costs in their facilities across the Northwest.

Watch how

Certification Spotlight

CRES Program Update

NEEA and RETA have partnered to develop CRES, a specialist certification that gives refrigeration system operators the ability to find and implement cost-saving energy efficiency opportunities. Certification involves demonstrating understanding of basic refrigeration concepts and safety, passing a CRES exam and completing and documenting five low- and no-cost energy efficiency activities. See the examples below.

Read CRES one-page summary

Read about the launch

View activity examples

NEEA Team Lead

Kim Hughes

Sr. Initiative Manager